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Gala 2024

Save the date!

Gala 2024

Tuesday, May 14, 2024 · Four Seasons Chicago

We are thrilled to host an unforgettable evening benefiting equal access and excellence in music education on May 14, 2024. 

Join us at the Four Seasons Chicago as we gather together as a Merit community, experience amazing student performances, and honor our special guests for their contributions to the arts.

Students from the Merit Brass Ensemble performing on stage at Merit Gala 2023.

Honoring

Ellard (Butch) L. Pfaelzer, Jr.

and Thomas (Tom) M. Leopold

Alice S. Pfaelzer Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts

and

Morgan Lewis

Corporate Leadership Award

Honoring

Liz Stiffel

Alice S. Pfaelzer Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts

We are thrilled to honor Lisbeth “Liz” Stiffel with the 2023 Alice S. Pfaelzer Award for Distinguished Service to the Arts.

Liz exemplifies the values of this award in many ways, most notably through her passion for supporting Chicago’s arts and culture institutions as well as support of organizations dedicated to health and human services. She is a longtime member of the Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, the Women’s Board of the Alliance Française, and the Women’s Board of the Joffrey Ballet, to name a few. For her tremendous devotion to the Lyric Opera and her longtime service as a member of both the Lyric Opera of Chicago Women’s Board and the Guild Board of Directors, Liz was honored with the Carol Fox Award for lifetime achievement and dedication to Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2017. Beyond the arts, Liz’s philanthropy runs far and wide across our city, from her longstanding support of Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago as a member of the Founder’s Board to her participation on the Women’s Board of the Boys and Girls Club and other organizations.

We are grateful to Liz for her many years of support and dedication to the mission and students of Merit School of Music and look forward to honoring her impact.

Honoring

Nico Segal & Nikko Washington

Merit School of Music Award for Citizen Artistry

This past year, Merit alums Nico Segal and Nikko Washington supported Merit by donating their time and talents through an interactive community art piece celebrating the power of music.

Grammy-winning trumpeter and producer Nico Segal launched his career as a founding member of highly-regarded band, Kids These Days. Since then, he has toured with Frank Ocean, founded The Social Experiment with Chance The Rapper, and performed on high-profile stages, including Saturday Night Live, the White House, and NY Jazz Fest. Nikko Washington is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work spans painting, drawing, and graphic design. He is also an artistic director and highly sought-after album cover artist, designing pieces for artists such as Joey Purp and Vic Mensa.

Created in partnership with Play Together Chicago, Nico and Nikko’s art piece consists of a stunning mural installed on the outside of Merit’s West Loop home, the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, and an original piece of music. The mural invites passersby to participate by scanning a QR code and submitting their own music or artwork as a citywide collaboration. In supporting the community in this meaningful way through their art, Nico and Nikko embody what it means to be a citizen artist.

Gala Chairs

Duffie Adelson, Joe & Madeleine Glossberg, and Susie Pfaelzer Sultan & John Sultan

Gala Chairs

Susie Pfaelzer Sultan & John Sultan, Joe & Madeleine Glossberg, and Duffie Adelson

Sponsorships & Levels of Support

2024 Circle of Merit Music Champions (in formation)

Presenting Sponsor

Richard and Helen Thomas & Family

Leadership Circle

Ginny and Peter Foreman
Howard L. Gottlieb and Barbara Greis
Caroline and Charlie Huebner
The Negaunee Foundation
Carol Prins and John Hart
Earl Rusnak, Jr. and Sandra Rusnak

Maestro

Anonymous

Virtuoso

Abbott
Julie and Dan Baumeister
Joan and Robert Feitler
Joe and Madeleine Glossberg
Janice L. Honigberg
Judy and Verne Istock
ITW
Lori Julian for the Julian Family Foundation
Anne L. Kaplan
Thomas and Janet Leopold
Lorna and Ellard L. Pfaelzer, Jr. 
David P. Thomas and Vesna Radisic

Concertmaster

Michael Andrews and Ryan Ruskin
William Blair
Ryan and Amy DeVore
John and Julia Howard
Marisela and JK Lawson
Diane vS. and Robert M. Levy
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
Susie Pfaelzer Sultan and John Sultan
Nina Stillman
US Bank
Jennifer Vianello and David Showalter

Vivace

Duffie A. Adelson
Heidi Lukas and Charlie Grode
Jennifer and Reg Montague
Cynthia Mufarreh and Gaston Yordan
Dia S. Weil

Presto

Philip M. Friedmann
Jason and Caitlin Gatchell
Anne and Willam Goldstein
Shelley Ochab and Chester A. Gougis
Doris Roskin
Anqi Zhang and Alan Xi

 

Levels of Support

Merit School of Music deeply appreciates the individuals and organizations who celebrate the accomplishments of our honorees, Ellard (Butch) L. Pfaelzer, Jr. and Thomas (Tom) M. Leopold—music lovers, advocates for youth, and supporters of Merit since it was founded in 1979.

In addition to the opportunities listed below, benefactors of $5,000+ will receive special acknowledgment of their support in the Gala invitation, on the Gala webpage, and in Merit’s annual report.

Presenting Sponsor | $100,000

  • A premier table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Topmost premier recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Leadership Circle | $50,000

  • A premier table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Premier recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Maestro | $40,000

  • A priority table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Priority recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Virtuoso | $25,000

  • A prime table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Prime recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Concertmaster | $10,000

  • A preferred table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Preferred recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Vivace | $7,500

  • A reserved table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Watch Some of Our Favorite Moments from Gala 2023

Sponsorships & Levels of Support

2023 Circle of Merit Music Champions

Presenting Sponsors

Liz Stiffel
Richard and Helen Thomas & Family


Leadership Circle

Howard L. Gottlieb and Barbara Greis
Caroline and Charlie Huebner
The Negaunee Foundation
Zell Family Foundation


Maestro

Anonymous
Carol Prins and John Hart
Earl Rusnak, Jr. and Sandra Rusnak


Virtuoso

Abbott
Julie and Dan Baumeister
Ginny and Peter Foreman
Janice L. Honigberg
Judy and Verne Istock
ITW
Lori Julian for the Julian Family Foundation
Thomas and Janet Leopold
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius,
Thomas Linguanti and Olivia Tyrrell
& Julie Stapel and David Kalat
Lorna and Ellard L. Pfaelzer, Jr.
David P. Thomas


Concertmaster

Michael Andrews and Ryan Ruskin
Anonymous
Laurie V. Bay
Greg and Mamie Case
Huan J. Chang & Robert R. Stauffer and Jenner & Block
Ryan and Amy DeVore &
William Blair
Joan and Robert Feitler
Sasha Gerritson and Eugene Jarvis
Ruth Ann Gillis and Michael McGuinnis
Joe and Madeleine Glossberg
Karen Z. Gray-Krehbiel and John H. Krehbiel, Jr.
Anne L. Kaplan
JK and Marisela Lawson
NiSource
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
Cathy and Bill Osborn
PwC
Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan
Scott and Nancy Santi
Nancy S. Searle
Nina G. Stillman
Susie Pfaelzer Sultan and John Sultan
U.S. Bank
Jennifer Vianello and David Showalter


Presto

Susan and Lawrence Aaron
Duffie A. Adelson
Anonymous
Baker McKenzie

Jeffrey Breslow and Janyce Agruss
Tim Calkins and Carol Saltoun
CAM Comm
Chicago History Museum
Dearborn Capital Partners
Jason and Caitlin Gatchell
The Gies Foundation
Anne and William Goldstein
Heidi Lukas and Charlie Grode
Jim and Kay Mabie Family
Jennifer and Reg Montague
Joe and Hannah Musselman
Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel
 Shelley Ochab and Chester A. Gougis
Nishad and Pinkey Parmar
Abiman Rajadurai and Joanna Bartold
Doris Roskin
Ann and Ray Rusnak
T. Rowe Price Private Asset Management
Penny and John Van Horn
Neal Zucker and Marko Iglendza
Sheri and Sherwin Zuckerman


Allegro

Meredith Barber and Tom Fitzsimmons
Philip M. Friedmann
Matthew and Marynelly Grusecki
Heather Haukness and David Bentrem
John Holmes and Jenni Sorenson
Karen and Tom Howell
Debra Kerr and Steven Thompson
Robert Kohl and Clark Pellett
Diane and Robert Levy
David A. Schulz
Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Dia S. Weil
Todd Wiener and Paula Jacobi


Adagio

Julie and Ron Allen
Sonia Antolec and Joseph Hodal
Craft Mechanical
Lois and Steve Eisen
Robert and Sara Leopold

Levels of Support

Merit School of Music deeply appreciates the individuals and organizations who celebrate the accomplishments of our honoree, Liz Stiffel, a devoted philanthropist and supporter of the nationally renowned programming at Merit School of Music.

In addition to the opportunities listed below, benefactors of $5,000+ will receive special acknowledgment of their support in the Gala invitation, on the Gala webpage, and in Merit’s annual report.

Presenting Sponsor | $100,000

  • A premier table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Topmost premier recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Leadership Circle | $50,000

  • A premier table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Premier recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Maestro | $40,000

  • A priority table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Priority recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Virtuoso | $25,000

  • A prime table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Prime recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Concertmaster | $10,000

  • A preferred table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Preferred recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Presto | $5,000

  • A reserved table in the ballroom for 10 guests at the Gala
  • Recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Allegro | $2,500

  • Four tickets to the Gala
  • Recognition of your support in the Gala event materials

Adagio | $1,500

  • Two tickets to the Gala

Guests at the 2023 Gala heard directly from several students, who shared their experience at Merit School of Music and the sense of belonging they feel as part of this community.

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